MIAMI — Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans’ crew transferred 18 Haitian migrants to the Bahamas, June 26, following an interdiction, Thursday, approximately one mile east of Lake Worth Inlet, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a release.
Palm Beach Sheriff officers reported to Sector Miami watchstanders, June 24, a 27-foot vessel was located boating without lights at night. They were stopped for safety concerns and it was discovered the vessel was overloaded with 18 Haitians and one Bahamian.
The Bahamian national was brought ashore for further questioning by Homeland Security Investigations.
Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations law enforcement officers took custody of the vessel.
“The ventures are dangerous and can often lead to casualties,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jacob McMillian, Coast Guard Liaison officer, Bahamas. “Seas are unpredictable and when you’re traveling on a vessel that isn’t sea worthy, you should expect the unexpected.”
The Coast Guard interdicted approximately 262 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2021, which began Oct. 1, 2020, compared to 418 Haitian migrants in fiscal year 2020, and 932 in fiscal year 2019. These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention. Throughout the interdiction, Coast Guard crew members were equipped with personal protective equipment to minimize potential exposure to any possible case of COVID-19.